Why is creativity no longer a priority in school and work?

Across the world, there is a growing sensation that we have to ‘prove’ something. Whatever activity you are engaged in, be it a spelling test, chess group or a performance review, there will be someone somewhere monitoring your results and comparing them to a set of statistics. Spontaneity and creativity are skills that are simply hard to measure; their very nature means that any attempt to do so would reduce them to something less. And how can we know our own self-worth, without first knowing everyone else’s?

It’s a ruinous obsession.  It does have its uses and benefits- there is little better than seeing your results grow as you work to better yourself. But sometimes you work so hard to gain those points and percentages that you lose sight of the bigger picture. This effect is manifested when you leave a class or a meeting with no idea what was said or done, and why after taking an exam the knowledge you had carefully nurtured vanishes like a wisp of smoke.

Every year we see the creative subjects get pushed out of the curriculum in schools around the country, in favour of more measurable skills such as maths, grammar and science. We have seen this firsthand at schools in Kingscliff, Tweed and Murwillumbah. And while the other subjects are important (and can be creative in their own right), there are countless studies revealing the importance of exploration in art, writing, music, dance and drama. Becoming an expert is not the point; rather, the skill developed of being able to look at something and seeing it in your own way. We need people with this ability to look at things sideways. Those are the people that make discoveries and change the world, no matter their career or place in life. STEM subjects, at least in the hard-and-fast way they are usually taught, simply do not encourage this kind of lateral thinking, and on their own do not produce innovators and pioneers.

How can we change this?

Unless you choose to home-school, you likely have little control over the subjects taught at your child’s school. But in their personal lives, if they ask for materials or to join a kid’s art class (In Kingscliff, Artory offers just that and more), leap at the chance to nurture that impulse. And for yourselves, seek out the things that pique your interest. Join a class. Take the plunge with an art workshop on the Gold Coast, or an extravagant supplies investment.

Ignore the voice that tells you ‘you can’t’, or ‘you’re not good enough’. You absolutely can- and the only way to transcribe the beauty in your mind onto the blank canvas is to persevere, past the doubt and terror of creating something that can’t be measured.